Waterproofing Wood & Masonry
Waterproofing protects decks, patios, wood siding and driveways from damage caused by water, sunlight and mildew.
This guide will help you understand how waterproofers and sealants protect wood and concrete surfaces both inside and outside your home.
Tip: Before sealing wood or masonry, prepare the area for application. If wood or masonry is not properly cleaned, the waterproofer won’t adhere or last. For best results, consult the manufacturer’s instructions before beginning your project.
Safety: Always wear eye protection, rubber gloves, and other protective apparel while applying waterproofers.
Oil-based waterproofers penetrate wood more deeply than water-based finishes. Water-based products are easier to clean and can be applied to dry or damp wood.
Waterproofing can help prevent:
- Cracks, warping and splitting resulting from collected moisture
- Discoloration, wear, and breakdown due to UV rays
- Scratches caused by foot traffic and deck chairs
- Mold, mildew and ground-in dirt from leaves accumulated in damp corners
Even pressure treated decks can benefit from waterproofing. A two-step process of cleaning and waterproofing is your best bet for good results.
Waterproofers enhance the natural color of the wood on your deck or patio, adding a hint of color while providing a clean finish.
Masonry waterproofers prevent water from seeping through cracks in basement walls, garage floors, concrete block walls, swimming pools and fountains. They often prevent damage before it occurs by providing a tough water barrier.
Water seepage into a basement occurs for a few reasons: poor workmanship, the natural settling of a house on its foundation, or excessive water pressure.
A waterproofer penetrates and bonds to masonry to stop leaks that allow water to enter and cause damage.
Masonry waterproofing can be used after water damage has already occurred.
Identify existing water damage by looking for white chalky streaks on concrete blocks or walls. These are actually calcium salt deposits that water brings to the surface.
Waterproofers are more durable than sealants – sealants protect concrete from moisture but do not stop water movement through concrete from the outside.
- If there are no holes or cracks in the surface you are waterproofing, waterproofer can be directly applied.
- If a surface shows signs of damage, repair the holes or large cracks before applying waterproofer.
Make sure to prepare the wood or masonry before sealing. If it’s not properly cleaned, the waterproofer won’t adhere or last.
- Clear, multi-Surface waterproofer: Used on both wood and masonry to stop water damage. They do not include mildewcides, pigments or UV blockers. If you apply this product to wood, it turns a weathered gray over time.
- Clear waterproofer for wood: These products are specifically designed for wood and usually include mildewcides and help wood resist fading. Clear waterproofers enhance the natural wood grain’s appearance. Reapply every one to two years.
- Tinted waterproofer for wood: Contain mildewcides and offer greater UV protection because they contain pigment. The color or tint enhances the wood color and allows the wood grain to show through. Reapply every two to three years.
- Clear masonry sealer: Masonry sealers do not provide true waterproofing, but they do repel water and allow water vapor to move through the material. Apply these products to brick, concrete, block, stucco or other masonry material.
- Pigmented masonry waterproofer: Pigmented waterproofers are similar to stains and change the color of the masonry material while also providing waterproofing. These products can be applied to any masonry surface.
- Film-forming coatings: These masonry products resemble paint finishes – from sheen to satin to gloss. These products resist water pressure behind the film they create when applied. Use film-forming coatings to seal leaky basement walls. As masonry sealers, these products typically last the longest.
- Use a general cleaner to remove dirt, mold, mildew or clear, oil-based waterproofer that has weathered
- Use a more powerful solution to remove weathered, tinted waterproofer, semi-transparent stain or water-based coatings
- Use stripper to remove solid stains
- Keep pressure washer PSI under 1,200 to prevent damage to wood
- Protect surrounding vegetation by wetting with a hose and covering with a tarp
- Allow new lumber to lose its mill glaze – wait 2 to 3 weeks so the surface can weather
- Remove existing paint or other coatings by scraping, sandblasting, sanding, wire-brushing, pressure washing, chemicals or a combination
- Repair hairline cracks with waterproofing mix
- Repair larger cracks by cleaning out and patching with mortar
- Mist area with fine spray before applying waterproofer.
- New concrete must cure a minimum of 30 days